Gov. Bevin: Stepping down from leadership not enough for lawmakers entangled in sexual harassment settlement

11/22/2017 02:02 PM

Gov. Matt Bevin said those who have settled sexual harassment claims should resign from the General Assembly entirely during a radio interview Tuesday, reigniting his call for departures after former House Speaker Jeff Hoover stepped down as the leader of the House GOP caucus earlier this month.

Hoover, R-Jamestown, acknowledged reaching a confidential settlement with a female staffer in his Nov. 5 resignation as House speaker, saying he acted inappropriately but that their communications via text message were consensual and did not go beyond that.

Hoover said he would continue to represent the 83rd House District in the legislature.

Three others in the House Republican caucus were also reportedly involved in the settlement – Reps. Jim DeCesare, Brian Linder and Michael Meredith – but only Linder has confirmed his part in the agreement.

“I do still call on those individuals who have paid money to keep their young employees quiet so they wouldn’t talk about whatever inappropriate sexual interaction they had with them, they need to step down, leave their positions, not just positions of leadership because otherwise what message are we sending, Terry?” Bevin said during an interview with 840 WHAS host Terry Meiners.

“Are we saying that, ‘Hey, you’re allowed to be a married legislator paid by taxpayers, go to Frankfort and do sexually inappropriate things with your young employees, as long as you’re not in leadership, that’s OK.’ Is that the message we’re trying to send? To me it’s just disgusting and repulsive and inappropriate.”

Asked by Meiners about recent allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore and those raised against President Donald Trump during the 2016 election, Bevin said he’s “not trying to cast dispersions everywhere” and referred back to his call for lawmakers in Frankfort to resign if they settled sexual harassment claims.

“But if other people were to subsequently try to hide these similar indiscretions, they too should step down,” Bevin said. “There’s certain behaviors that we should or should not expect and accept from our legislators, and as I said in my press conference, you either condemn this behavior or you condone it.”

Bevin made clear during Tuesday’s radio interview that he still plans to call a special session to handle pension reform later this year.

Policymakers have yet to unveil what changes they’ve made to the original pension reform proposal, which drew opposition from public workers, teachers and even some top Republicans in the House.

“We will address this pension deficit in this state, the tremendous underfunded status, the worst in the nation, and I will expect our legislature to take this up, and I know they have the capacity to do it,” Bevin said. “I know the amount of work that has gone into this already in both the House and the Senate. I am absolutely confident that we will get it done, and Kentucky needs us to get it done.”


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